Studio recording in stereo
December 4-7, 10-12, 27-29, 1979
January 2-4, April 15 & July 1, 1980
|Conductor: Herbert von Karajan|
José van Dam
Victor von Halem
|Gurnemanz|| ||Kurt Moll|
Claes Håkan Ahnsjö
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Review by Graham Clark|
Though the singing on Karajan's Parsifal is very fine, the prize must go
to the conducting and orchestra playing. The Berliner Philharmoniker is
its usual regal self, especially the woodwinds. On the CD, its playing
comes out completely refined, except for the occasional uppity trombone.
Karajan's conducting makes a fine icing on the cake. His speeds are
generally fast, but very spiritual, so the result is rarely lightweight.
He may not sound as "Christian" as the Knappertsbusch recordings, but a
background free of stage noises is an additional advantage to this
As for the singing, the best singer is Kurt Moll as Gurnemanz. He is
the personal favorite of many Parsifal fans, and the basis of this is
probably the sheer strength he gives to the role throughout the opera.
José van Dam and Siegmund Nimsgern both bring much sympathy to their
roles, though the latter may not be sinister enough. The Kundry here
is a little wobbly, and Parsifal slightly rough of tone (neither match
their Knappertsbusch counterparts). When you listen to the ending of
Act Two, however, when Parsifal is about to swing the spear into the
symbol of the cross, all vocal problems seem to vanish, and we hear
pure music. This recording is one of the two greatest of the recent
versions of the opera (in my opinion), the other being Jordan's.
This review is from the now closed Wagner on the Web and it is published
without the author's consent. I haven't been able to get in touch with him.
If the author reads this, please contact me as soon as possible. If you
don't want it here, I'll take it of the site immediately.